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USC easily overwhelms Stetson 95-59

USC easily overwhelms Stetson 95-59
USC forward Bennie Boatwright is fouled on a reverse attempt by Stetson's Abayomi Iyiola on Wednesday at the Galen Center. (Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

Shaqquon Aaron pound-ed his chest as he landed on the court in the second half, hooting after another successful score for USC men’s basketball.

Plays like that came frequently for the Trojans as they defeated Stetson 95-59 on Wednesday night at Galen Center. They mounted overpowering scoring runs while forcing 11 Stetson turnovers, won the rebounding battle and shot 56.3%.

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“As long as we defend, we’re gonna be tough to beat,” USC forward Bennie Boatwright said.

It took less than 10 minutes for the Trojans to grab an 18-7 lead, despite making no three-pointers in that span. They were efficient in their possessions, shooting 63.6% to Stetson’s 16.7%.

USC continued to power past Stetson, claiming a 23-point lead with eight minutes left in the half. The small private school from DeLand, Fla., cut the deficit to 39-24 at the half.

The Trojans managed only one three-pointer in the first half but dominated the paint. They outrebounded Stetson 23-16 while earning 22 points in the paint behind an explosive effort from Nick Rakocevic, who earned 16 points and 13 rebounds.

“I guess that’s what we call him now,” coach Andy Enfield said, “the double-double man.”

USC piled on in the second half, taking a 26-point lead with 10 minutes left. Kevin Porter Jr. energized the arena with a powerful dunk.

Wednesday marked Boatwright’s first game back after being sidelined for nine months with a knee injury. He missed the Trojans’ first two games of the season, as did Elijah Weaver, who returned after sustaining an ankle injury in August.

“I just wasn’t ready,” Boatwright said. “I wanted to play, of course. I felt like it was best for myself and the team to come back healthy.”

Trojans land strong recruiting class

Four recruits committed to USC on Wednesday to form the Trojan’s highest-ranked recruiting class in program history and the nation’s top-ranked class, according to 247.com Sports. The group features two five-star recruits and three of California’s top five.

Onyeka Okongwu and Isaiah Mobley combine for a fierce presence in the post. At 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, Okongwu (Chino Hills) is the No. 2 recruit in California and the fifth-ranked center in the nation. He averaged 28 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks as a junior and is rated a five-star center by 247 Sports.

Mobley (Rancho Christian School) , a 6-foot-10 forward is the top recruit in California and 247 Sports’ third-ranked power forward in the nation. He averaged 19.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks

Max Agbonkpolo, (Santa Margarita Catholic) a 247 Sports four-star small forward from Orange County, is the No. 5 player in California. He impressed scouts with his length and versatility.

Kyle Sturdivant (Norcross) a four-star point guard and the fifth-ranked player in Georgia, rounds out the recruiting class by adding to USC’s depth in the back court. As the nation’s 10th-ranked point guard he averaged 15.1 points and 3.6 assists.

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Drake London (Moorpark) committed as a wide receiver and small forward for USC, but hasn’t signed.

USC next

Monday vs. Texas Tech, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2 — Averaging a 33.7-point scoring margin over opponents in its first three games, Texas Tech will challenge the Trojans with efficient scoring and consistent rebounding, with 15 more boards per game than opponents.

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